THIS IS US: “Number Three”, or “Blind Spot”

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The mid-season finale of This Is Us brought the third installment in this little trilogy of episodes focusing on a day in the life of each of the Big Three. Join Melissa and Ange as they discuss Randall’s day, and how it intersected with his siblings’.

Melissa: So Deja is gone. That hurt, yet I appreciate that she went home with her mom. I appreciate that the show didn’t go the “foster family as savior” route. I honestly wasn’t sure who I wanted Deja to live with. Watching Randall go through the process with Deja, and realize how Rebecca’s choices (and William’s choices) impacted his life, was powerful.

Ange: Oof, yes that hurt, but like you I also appreciated that the show didn’t go down the savior route and also Randall and Beth’s conversation after Deja had left about whether they wanted to keep going down that road where they would be opening themselves up to losing another child again or not. I’m happy that they ended up being on the same page and also realizing the realities of the situation – serious #couplegoals these two. Can we also acknowledge how much Deja has grown during her short time living with Randall and Beth? I mean, she was this very defensive and closed off child when we first met her and I think that scene where her mother showed up and she calmly talked her down and told her to play by the rules really showed that. Props to young actress Lyric Ross for her portrayal of Deja.

Back to your point about Randall going through this process with Deja (P.S. totally bawled in the farewell scene) and him realizing how Rebecca and William’s choices impacted his life, I agree it was very powerful; I think this episode itself was very powerful and probably one of the strongest this season. Plus, it’s always a joy to see both Ron Cephas and Jermel Nakia on the show.

Melissa: Jermel Nakia was fire this week! So glad we’re still seeing William in both incarnations through flashbacks. And yes to Randall and Beth deciding they want to continue as foster parents. How adorable is the little boy who is, I hope, about to be placed with Randall and Beth???

Ange: So adorable! Was he at a police station when we saw him? If so, I’m taking that to be where Randall and Beth have to pick up Kevin and Tess following the DUI and yet another example of the show connecting puzzle pieces and people in life.

Melissa: I think he was in the DCF office, but maybe it was the police station. Good call. What did you think about Jack relating how his time in Vietnam helps him understand Randall’s feeling of being “off balance”? A white person trying to compare their experiences to a person of color’s experiences is usually a false equivalency, but this is probably the closest to an actual, legit comparison I’ve heard. I also appreciate that Jack never said, “I know how you feel”, but rather, “I get it.”

Ange: I think the show tackled it pretty delicately; it’s always a tough line to straddle along but it was nice that Jack was able to make Randall feel like he wasn’t alone on some level and that while he may not feel the same feelings that Randall does because he’s never been in that situation, he can at least relate on some sort of level. Jack’s always struggled to open up about his past experiences so it was a nice father/son moment too. (Also, Jack telling Randall he is spectacular? Jack Pearson bringing on the waterworks for me strikes again!)

THIS IS US -- "Number Three" Episode 210 -- Pictured: Justin Hartley as Kevin -- (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

Melissa: At the end of this episode, we saw the Big Three’s respective days intertwine. And finally – FINALLY – I feel sorry for Kevin. He’s spiraling. He’s possibly in a death spiral. But his needs get pushed aside because his family are all dealing with their own challenges. Rebecca is with Kate, as she should be, no guilt. Randall is concerned about Kate and grieving Deja leaving and trying to help his daughters deal with their feelings. Tess and Annie need Uncle Kevin to reassure them, to listen to them. And instead of asking for help, instead of requesting his share of the spotlight, Kevin retreats into alcohol, then literally retreats. But this time Tess is with him. And he gets pulled over for a DUI. Randall and Beth are understandably furious, but do you think this will finally be what exposes Kevin’s struggle? Will his emotional needs finally be in the family spotlight?

Ange: Wow, what a closing five minutes of a mid-season finale! I was on edge when I realized Tess was in the car. I was concerned both she and Annie were there with Kevin and also convinced he was going to crash and Tess was going to be injured and this was going to be the rock bottom, so I’m glad that they didn’t go down that road and that this worst case scenario did not happen but my god was that stressful to watch! Is this enough of a rock bottom to be his wake up call? I hope so but also fear that he could spiral more. I HOPE that this incident triggers a discussion about Kevin’s struggles and the root of it and finally address his emotional needs but at the same time I’m not entirely sure that he’s at that point yet.

Melissa: Yes, that was INTENSE. I was waiting for the inevitable crash as well. Thank goodness that didn’t happen. What else stood out to you in this episode?

Ange: Tears? Lots of tears for me. I also enjoyed the recurring Pac-Man motif throughout the episode and also Randall’s speech about life being a game of Pac-Man and how sometimes life gives you a bunch of cherries but ultimately the ghosts will catch up to you.

Also, I don’t know if I’m reading too much into it but Tess saying she hates being at her house – is that because Deja left or is Randall and Beth’s decision to foster affecting her more than what we’ve seen?

Melissa: Gotta admit, I was with Beth with the whole, “What are you talking about, Randall?” during his Pac-man analogy. Ha! But yeah, I get it. Pretty sure Tess was reacting to the sadness and tension of Deja leaving when she said she didn’t want to be at home. At least I hope so.

This Is Us returns Tuesday, January 2 at 9/8c on NBC.

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